View Full Version : B&W film recommendations in Quickloads or Readyloads

Harley Goldman
8-Feb-2007, 12:24
I am interested in shooting more 4x5 B&W film. I have film holders, but far prefer QL's or RL's. I also plan to send film out to a lab. I am not interested in processing myself. Given those limitations, what films would you recommend for general landscape photography?

The other option is to shoot either color neg film or chrome like Astia and convert in PS. Opinions of the pros and cons of this alternative?

John Brady
8-Feb-2007, 13:23
I think you only have two choices. Fuji acros 100 and kodak
t-max 100. I use the t-mak and process it myself, other than 20 sheets costing about $65 I have been very happy with it. I have seen acros quick loads going for as low as $45 per 20. If there are any other options I am not aware of them but someone here will let us know.

I think any lab that processes 4x5 b&w film would be happy to process either of these films.

Gordon Moat
8-Feb-2007, 13:23
Another alternative might be a rollfilm back for your 4x5. While this would obviously be cropped compared to 4x5, the convenience factor is similar to Readyloads/Quickloads. I recently shot some Ilford HP5+ this way, and had it processed by DR5 (http://www.dr5.com) in Denver.

Other than that, I would think having a lab processing your B/W Readyloads/Quickloads, you might want to use filters at some point (red, green, orange, yellow, blue, et al). Using such coloured filters with colour transparency films would not give the same tonal response as B/W film; meaning that desaturating a colour image would give very different results. PhotoShop is not often a good substitute for getting the results in-camera, though it somewhat depends upon how much time you want to spend in front of a computer.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Ed Richards
8-Feb-2007, 15:02
There is a lot to recommend shooting color negative and converting it if you do not do your own processing, and do not worry about the cost. It gives you a lot of additional flexiblity, including the option of a color print. I shot some Mardi Gras floats last week and it would have been very useful to have had a color negative so I could tweak filters to best bring out different paints. If you are shooting readloads with lab processing, I am not even sure it is going to cost a lot more.

Ed K.
8-Feb-2007, 23:41
Choices are essentially TMax or Acros as stated. TMax holds up better to overdevelopment, which labs usually do not do (usually, they underdevelop a bit if anything), and Acros picks up contrast faster. Both are very fine grained. Acros doesn't work in DR5. When developing myself, I favor TMax for high contrast scenes and Acros for night work or low contrast scenes, however Acros is wonderful when pulled -1. Most labs use XTOL or Clayton developers, which means that often you won't get all the film speed on the box. Normal negs at a lab usually mean shooting Acros at about 64, however you should definitely ask your lab as to what they use and what EI to shoot with for your films.

Since the new Kodak film holders are out, they seem to work fine for me, and I've never had a problem with Fuji holders.

You really owe it to yourself to do your own development in B&W, because so much of B&W film character is altered by the combination of exposure and development. After a while, one shoots with the anticipation of developing a certain way or in a particular developer. Being stuck with just one developer is in some ways the "pure" and simple approach - one less variable, however just because the lab does it does not mean that you'll be free from having to test and dial in your preferences.

Personally, I find that color films do not have the same sharpness that a great B&W film has. Also, even small contact prints can be very charming. Even developing film in the bathroom has a great potential.

You didn't mention Polaroid Type 55. You can experiment quite a bit there in B&W, and it is reasonably fine-grained, plus, no lab. Of course, one developer - the built-in one. Type 55 is not all that fine-grained compared to Acros or TMax, but it does give quite a lovely set of tones that are easy to print and often quite satisfying.

If you don't like Readyload or Quickload film choices, but you want a "single pack" convenience while shooting (with the nuisance of loading beforehand), do look into Grafmatic holders - six shots, very flat film holding, and easy to load.

The roll film back, as mentioned, is also good, however your Quickload/Readyload approach has the ability to take more shots without "reloading" in a way. It's easy to pack 20 sheets of Readyload for one-at-a-time use. The roll film back always seems to need reloading at an inconvenient time.

Ultimately, you might as well try whatever films you can, because eventually, you probably will anyway...

John Kasaian
8-Feb-2007, 23:56
There is also Polaroid Type 55 P/N, a lovely B&W film and no processing needed other than a clearing rinse.

Jeffrey Sipress
9-Feb-2007, 11:52
I tried the color neg conversion to B&W, and it worked OK. Still, I enjoy the incredible tonal range of B&W negs after a good scan (which my 4780 is capable of). I use Acros.